Reading Time: 2 minutes Conquistador [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The country not the US State. Worrying, still. Why do blasphemy laws still persist around the world? C’mon, Earth, sort it out!

The Guardian reports:

Georgia is planning a “blasphemy bill” that will make religious irreverence punishable by law, prompting concerns about freedom of expression in the devoutly Orthodox Christian society.

Critics say the bill, which has been approved at committee stage and is headed for the parliamentary floor, could be used against any organisations not following the official church line.

Georgia ranks among the world’s most religious nations, with residents extremely sensitive to any criticism of the church which is seen as the historical defender of the country’s national identity. In 2013, Patriarch Ilia II ranked as the country’s most trusted public figure.

 The proposed bill would impose a 100 lari fine ($120) for “insults to religious feelings”, which would double for a repeat offence. Desecrating a religious symbol could cost up to 1,000 lari. With the average monthly salary no more than about 818 laris, the amounts are not insignificant.

Supporters argue that the bill is intended to protect all religious persuasions, although minority groups say they don’t expect to benefit. “This law is not going to protect anyone; at least not the minorities, and will be a powerful tool against freedom of speech,” said Rusudan Gotsiridze, an Evangelical Baptist bishop, to Liberali.ge. Continue reading…

I really do think it is one step forwards and two steps back for this world. You think we’re liberalising, and then this. One of the signs of a healthy democracy and society is the ability to say what you want about whom you want, without recrimination. Yes, free speech has issues when it turns into hate speech, but hate speech notwithstanding, you should be able to roundly criticise who you want in this world. Alas, so often not so.

Conquistador [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Conquistador [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...